Monday, August 27, 2012

Spicy Zucchini, Pepper and Potato Soup

I saw this recipe on Rachel Ray's Week in a Day on the Food Network Sunday morning while procrastinating getting out of bed.... It looked so good and a good way to use some garden veggies. I tweaked it a bit with what I had on hand and it was delicious! For the original recipe go here , I didn't have some of the peppers she used, but what I substituted was yummo! I served mine with my Chipotle Chicken Panini Sandwiches, but it would be good with a crusty french bread too! Enjoy!

Spicy Zucchini, Pepper and Potato Soup
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray
Prep Time:30 min
Inactive Prep Time:1 hr
Cook Time:40 min
Serves:4 servings.

1 large red bell pepper, for roasting
1 large green bell pepper, for roasting

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 pounds small zucchini (about 2 zucchini's) very thinly sliced into discs
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
5 to 6 small to medium red potatoes, very thinly sliced into discs (like potato chips)
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste, use a smaller amount at first then add more if needed)
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
A few sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped (or a heaping 1/2 teaspoon dried)
5 to 6 leaves sweet basil, chopped (or a heaping 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
2 (14-oz) cans fire roasted or Italian tomatoes (if using Italian tomatoes, cut back on the herbs just a bit)
1 (4-oz) can roasted, diced green Chile peppers
2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Char the bell peppers over open flame on stove top (I used my outdoor grill) or under hot broiler with oven door cracked to allow steam to escape. Once the skin is evenly charred and blackened all-over, place the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic until pepper is cool enough to handle. Wipe or scrape the char off the pepper removing the skins. Seed the pepper and thinly slice.

Heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil ripples, add the zucchini, onions, potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, basil, crushed red chili pepper and saute the vegetables until tender-crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, canned green chilis and roasted peppers and allow the tomatoes to breakdown a few minutes. Stir in enough stock to desired consistency - as thin or thick as you like. Let simmer for about 10 more minutes until vegetables are tender enough and the flavors blend.
Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese! Enjoy!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

I love this time of year... when it's got that crispy autumn hint in the air even though it's still hot during the day, and my garden is ready to harvest. My zucchini is multiplying abundantly and I am always looking for a new recipe. I had a good  Chocolate zucchini bread/cake recipe, but this one is a good regular quick bread recipe! It's my new favorite. I found it at the, The Prepared Pantry is a great kitchen store in my area. They sell Cinnamon chips there too that are wonderful for baking, you might be able to go to their website and order some. But if you don't want to do that, Hershey's makes a good cinnamon chip too. I find those at a local store by the Hershey's chocolate chips, hopefully your local grocery will have them too! But this is a yummy zucchini bread! I suggest eating it warm, fresh from the oven. Enjoy!!!

Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread
this recipe courtesy of

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil (I like to use grape seed oil... it's better for you and usually found by the other vegetable oils at Walmart)
2 cups grated zucchini squash

1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together. Fold in the sour cream, oil, and zucchini.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Do not continue stirring.
Pour the batter into two well-greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean when inserted into the center. Cool for ten minutes on a rack before removing the loaves from the pan.
                                              Slice and enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

I ran across this recipe on, and since I seem to have 3 or 4 zucchini everytime I go out to my garden I always welcome a new zucchini recipe! I loved this! It's a great side dish to any grilled meat! I happened to serve it along with grilled steaks for my anniversary dinner, and my hubby loved it! Enjoy!

Cheesy Zucchini Rice
*Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 cup long-grain white rice ( I used Jasmine rice since that is what I had)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, grated on a box grater or with a food processor (no need to peel beforehand)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I had a fiesta mix of grated cheese)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed (I used, just makes it creamier

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let the rice simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the grated zucchini, cheese, and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste (don't skip this step - I needed at least 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to boost the flavor). Add a tablespoon or so of milk to adjust the texture if needed. Serve warm.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

As you know I love watching the Food Network on Saturday mornings, and I saw this recipe the other day and had to give it a try. I've always wanted to cook Brussels Sprouts and make them taste good, they can be on the bitter side I think. My hubby doesn't like them so I thought if I can find a recipe that we like (or should I say that he would eat) then it would be a good way to incorporate them into our diet... after all, I get tired of the same old vegetables that I cook everyday. We LOVED this recipe... who doesn't like anything with bacon in it? Jamie Deen only used 1 strip of bacon, but I did 3... love bacon. Feel free to cut back to one strip if you like. I served this with grilled chicken, but it would be good with any grilled meat as a side dish. Delicious!!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts
adapted from Jamie Deen's recipe / Food Network


3 strips bacon, cooked and  sliced into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced (or 1/4 cup diced onion)
6 ounces Brussels sprouts (2 big handfuls)
Pinch brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. When cool slice into bite size pieces (I think it's easier to cook the bacon first then cut into bite size pieces)
While the bacon is cooking, cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Then chop the Brussels sprouts in half. Lay them cut-side-down and finely chop until they are all shredded.
Leave a couple of Tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet and add the garlic and shallots (onion) then saute until fragrant and the shallots are soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and saute until tender crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add a pinch of brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice. Saute for 1 minute more. Toss with the chopped parsley and bacon. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Wraps

One thing that my husband got me addicted to since I married him is Hot Wings, or Buffalo Wings... or maybe I should just say Hot Sauce in general... I put the stuff on pizza, eggs... alot of things and that's something I thought I would never do. This recipe was on my Betty Crocker Calendar (yes, I get things like that in the mail that I forget I have signed up for) and since I LOVE hot sauce and ranch dressing together this recipe screamed "Try me!" the moment I saw it. I didn't tweak it too much other than I used a bit more ranch, and I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. I did cook mine on the stove top by putting the chicken in water along with a stalk of celery, a slice of onion, garlic and salt and pepper, and I simmered for about an hour until the chicken pulled apart. But I"m posting the slow cooker recipe since I would have done it that way had I thought about it before leaving for work. The leftover chicken also makes great Quesadilla's...Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Wraps

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Chicken broth
3/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's hot sauce)
1/2 cup ranch dressing plus more to spread on the tortilla
1 package flour tortillas for burritos (8 tortillas)
3 cups shredded lettuce
Grated cheese (if desired)

Place chicken in 1 1/2-quart slow cooker, sprinkle with salt and add 1/2 cup chicken broth.
Cover; cook 6 to 7 hours (if slow cooker has heat settings, use Low).
With slotted spoon, remove chicken from slow cooker and place on cutting board; discard liquid in slow cooker. (you can strain this juice and freeze for later use in a soup or stew)
In slow cooker or a medium sauce pan, mix buffalo wing sauce and the 1/2 cup of the ranch dressing. With 2 forks, shred chicken. Return chicken to slow cooker (or saucepan); stir gently to mix with sauce.
Next, you can warm your tortillas or have them cold for the wrap, I warm mine for a minute or two in a large skillet over medium heat, this makes them easier to roll.
To serve, spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon ranch dressing; top each with about 1/2 cup chicken mixture, about 1/3 cup lettuce and sprinkle with grated cheese if desired. Roll up tortilla, secure with toothpicks if you want to make a few and then serve.
I served mine with Mexican rice and sauteed zucchini, would be good with chips or french fries too!

Left over Buffalo Chicken
Grated Cheese
Flour Tortillas
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a large cookie sheet with a non-stick cooking spray. Place 2 large flour tortillas on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with cheese, then left over chicken, then sprinkle again with cheese and top with another flour tortilla. Spray the top of the Tortilla with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tortilla's are slightly browned around the edges.
Remove from the oven, cut in to fourths (like you cut a pie) and serve! This makes a great lunch!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

my version of Taco Bell's Nacho Crunch Burrito

Don't you hate it when a fast food place comes up with something you love, in fact you crave it late at night or at lunch when you're starving at work...only to remove it from their menu after a short time?? I do..and that is what happened  to me with the Nacho Crunch Burrito at Taco Bell. While I was trying to make myself think that what I really wanted was the Crunch Wrap instead of the beloved Burrito I was craving, I thought ' I bet I could make them at home, I just needed hamburger, tortilla's, a cheese sauce, and crunchy tortilla chips or strips and I would have it!" So that's what I did! and I wasn't disappointed at all! I think mine were even better! Take that Taco Bell!! Enjoy....

Di's version of Taco Bell's  "Nacho Crunch Burrito"

1 to 2 pounds Hamburger (the amount depends on how many burritos you need, I did about 1-1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup chopped onion
Taco Seasoning (or a mixture of onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, Chili powder, and chipotle powder)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) can Rico's Gourmet! Nacho Cheddar Cheese Sauce (found in the Mexican food aisle at most Grocery Stores--see pic below)
1 pkge. "Fresh Gourmet" Tortilla Strips (Found in the salad section of most groceries, they come in a few different flavors)
10 Burrito size Flour Tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown your hamburger and chopped onion. When Hamburger is almost done, drain grease and season with Taco seasoning, or what seasonings you desire. Let cook for about 5 more minutes so flavors mix.
Meanwhile, heat your Nacho Cheese sauce in a small Saucepan over medium low heat until it's warmed through.

                           I LOVE this cheese sauce!

Heat your tortilla's in another large skillet over medium high heat, warming each tortilla for 2 or 3 minutes until warm and bubbly on one side and then flipping over--this should take 2-3 minutes total not for each side. Place warmed tortilla in between 2 kitchen towels on a plate to keep warm.
When ready to make burritos, take 1 tortilla, place a couple of spoonfuls of meat down the center, then a spoonful or two of the cheese, then sprinkle the crispy tortilla strips down the middle...
Fold in both ends, then starting at one side, fold over tucking over the filling and roll into a burrito! Enjoy!
I served mine with Mexican rice, black beans, and crispy garden veggies.
Also, feel free to add more toppings, I liked mine like this, but you could add salsa, chopped tomatoes, diced lettuce, guacamole, or chopped avocados.